Held on June 5 in Yalta, the fourth annual summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) proved as irrelevant as the previous meetings of this stillborn organization. The gathering did, however, provide a setting for bilateral talks in which Ukraine raised its profile as an emerging factor in regional security. President Leonid Kuchma and his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze agreed that Ukraine would seek to join a reformed peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia. Kyiv would also apply to join the “Friends of Georgia” group of countries, led by the United States and Germany. Moscow succeeded last year in joining the group and having it renamed in a way that dilutes its original purpose. Ukraine’s accession to the group would, however, help restore the balance.
Kuchma also held bilateral talks with Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, who welcomed Kyiv’s decision to send military observers to Transdniester in the near future. The Ukrainian presence in Abkhazia and Transdniester would dent Russia’s “peacekeeping” monopoly in these areas. (UNIAN, DINAU, June 5)
RUSSIA’S GRU ACCUSED OF FOMENTING TROUBLE IN GEORGIA.